Current Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT: Proxy or Not, Here’s a Way to Amplify Your Voice in Defense of our Safest Farms/Food

Friday, November 8th, 2013

(This Action Alert is Over)
FDA Food Safety Comment Deadline is Nov. 15
 

Your Electronic Voice Can Help Save the Family Farms
Producing Our Nation’s Best Food

GoodFood2You can make a difference!  It’s the 11th hour.  Please comment directly on the FDA’s food safety web page to help save our nation’s organic/local produce farmers from potential ruin!  The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Even if you sent in a signed proxy letter to Cornucopia for us to hand deliver to the FDA, you can add more comments on the FDA’s food safety web page.

There are two open dockets (farm production and processing).  Please submit your electronic comments to the FDA in these federal government webpages to the Produce Rule and to the Preventive Controls Rule (this is important because these issues affect both rules).  Then click on the “Comment Now” button on the upper right side of the regulations.gov web page.

For help with talking points and full background information, click here.  You can cut and paste the talking points but just a few personal lines, or a paragraph or two, will add a lot of weight in making your input “original.”

If you are trying to comment on the FDA’s food safety rules, and are receiving an error message from the Regulations.gov web page — this is very frustrating!  You have at least two options.  You can continue to try commenting online, and hopefully this problem will be rectified soon.

Alternatively, you might also want to mail (the old-fashioned way), the FDA your food safety comments.  This would need to be postmarked by Nov. 15 and sent to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

All mailed comments must also include your name, organization (if any) and the appropriate docket number:

  • For the Preventive Controls Rule:  FDA-2011-N-0920 and RIN 0910-AG36
  • For the Produce Rule:  FDA-2011-N-0921 and RIN 0910-AG35

If you want to comment on both rules, you can mail them together but must label your comments with BOTH of those docket numbers.

We encourage you to keep trying to make your voice heard.  The food produced by our nation’s best and safest farmers, and treasured by all of us, is worth the effort to protect.

Please share this action alert with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter or other social media that you use. 

Better food safety oversight of factory farms and giant agribusinesses is needed — and appropriate — but it appears that the FDA and corporate lobbyists are using these food safety proposals to simultaneously crush the organic and local farming movements.  Together we can defend those farmers producing local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food.

It is critical for the good food community to come together right now.  We know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers.  Please help protect family-scale farmers and maintain this alternative in the marketplace.

DEADLINE: Get Your Proxy in—FDA Rules Could Force Local/Organic Farms Out Of Business

Friday, November 1st, 2013

(This Action Alert is Over)
FDA DEADLINE APPROACHING: Please Get Your Proxy in the Mail ASAP

Your Voice Could Make the Difference
in Saving the Family Farms Producing Our Best Food

goodfoodYou can make a difference.  Please help save our nation’s diversified produce farmers from potential ruin!  The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Download, sign and mail back to us the linked proxy letter today!  The public comment deadline closes in a few days.

Thousands of you have already made the effort to mail your proxy-letter back to Cornucopia for hand delivery to the FDA.  If you have yet to do so, please act now. Read Full Article »

NO GOOD FARMS—NO GOOD FOOD: Tell the FDA to Back Off — New Regs Could Crush Organic/Local Farmers

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The FDA’s new food safety rules have the real potential to force some of the safest local and organic farms out of business!

There is a critical need for the good food community to come together right now. Please sign and mail back the linked proxy-letter today!

(Mail your proxy to The Cornucopia Institute, PO Box 126, Cornucopia, WI 54827)

CI_GoodFoodSafeFood_450px

In response to deadly outbreaks involving spinach, peanut products and eggs, Congress acted decisively three years ago to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Giant factory farms and uninspected imports are, literally, poisoning US citizens. Better oversight is needed but it looks like regulators and corporate agribusiness are using the FSMA to simultaneously competitively crush the organic and local farming movements.

Unfortunately, the FDA’s draft regulations designed to implement the new law appear to ignore the will of Congress. Instead, the regulations would ensnare the country’s safest family farmers in burdensome regulations in a misdirected attempt to rein in abuses that are mostly emanating from industrial-scale factory farms and giant agribusiness food processing facilities.

SHORTAGES of FARM-DIRECT PRODUCE?
Small farms forced out of business?

We thought we had won a victory with the Tester Amendment adopted by Congress exempting farmers doing less than $500,000 in business from these new rules, but the FDA seems more interested in a “one-size-fits-all” food safety law.

In reality, these small farms are not really exempt. The FDA is proposing that the agency can, without any due process, almost immediately force small farms to comply with the same expensive testing and record-keeping requirements for factory farms. The added expense and record-keeping time will potentially force many small farms — those selling to local farmers markets, co-ops and restaurants — out of business instantly.

Just as important, for farms over $500,000 in volume (and there are plenty of excellent medium-sized organic farms in the $1-$3 million range or larger), some of the provisions will not only be economically damaging (some farmers might not survive this) but actually prohibit some basic practices in the Organic Food Production Act. Yet if all farms, conventional as well as organic, had to follow the organic regulations for manures/composts, we’d have safer produce.

Please download and sign the proxy and mail it back to protect our nation’s safest farmers. Cornucopia will hand-deliver the thousands of proxies collected to the FDA.

These new rules are just as much about protecting industrial agriculture, and their giant factory farms, as they are about protecting human health. Consider:

  1. The FDA has wildly inflated the number of foodborne illnesses that originate from farm production (seed to harvest) rather than contamination that takes place later, in processing/distribution — in justifying supposed economic benefits from the new rules.
  2. The FDA fails to recognize that some processed crops, grown in certain regions, are the genesis of 90% of dangerous outbreaks! Thousands of individual illnesses come from food processing practices — not farming practices — for fresh-cut/bagged salads, greens, and sprouts. And there are no outbreaks linked to many kinds of U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables. Yet these very onerous rules will apply to all farmers. We need to target our tax money where it will do the most good: addressing high-risk areas and practices.
  3. Almost all pathogenic pollution that contaminates ground and surface water, fertilizers and even the air comes from giant concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs (factory farms), not from fruit and vegetable growers. In fact, the riskiest pathogens are found on CAFOs. But the FDA proposes nothing to address sick livestock in animal factories and their pathogen-filled manure that’s contaminating surrounding rural communities, farms and our food supply.

The giant spinach E. coli contamination a few years ago was from an organism commonly found in feedlot cattle. And, according to FDA news releases, the recent Cyclospora outbreak, sickening customers eating bagged salad at Red Lobster and Olive Garden in multiple states, was initially traced back to the giant Taylor Farms’ Mexican operation — not U.S. family farms.

To guarantee the supply of local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food, we must focus food safety rules on the truly risky operations and practices – this is not what the FDA’s proposed rules do.

NO MORE ORGANIC EGGS?

Just like imported/factory farm produce might be dangerous and require regulatory oversight, the 2010 salmonella outbreak in eggs, centered in Iowa, shone a spotlight on industrial-scale egg houses confining tens of thousands of hens in filthy and dangerous conditions.

The salmonella outbreak led to this new egg guidance. Even though there is scientific evidence tying higher rates of pathogenic contamination to older, massive factory farms with cages and forced molting (practices banned in organics), the FDA is zeroing in on flocks with outdoor access (certified organic).

Their new guidance, on the one hand, will make it difficult, expensive and maybe even impossible to have medium-sized flocks of birds outside. At the same time, the FDA has colluded with the USDA’s National Organic Program to say that tiny “porches,” which hold only a minute fraction of the flock, will now legally constitute “outdoor access.”

This will not stand. We need to simultaneously
protest overreaching
government regulations
and defend produce and egg farmers.

Cornucopia might very well be headed to court over the governmental abuses in violating the spirit and letter of the organic law in regards to confining organic livestock (poultry).

So we are asking for your help. And we are on a tight timeline. We need you to make your voice heard over the next couple of weeks by downloading, printing and signing the proxy letter. We will hand-deliver it directly to the FDA. We know this involves more hassle than signing an online petition, but a printed letter, together with thousands of others proxies literally carries more weight.

We have heard time and again that regulators and lawmakers, who have no problem blowing off online petitions, sit up and take notice when they receive hard-copy communications – especially when they’re hand-signed and hand-delivered!

If you have the time, please write “over” and add additional comments on the back of the proxy letter. If you are farming, briefly describe your operation and why this could be a threat to your livelihood. If you purchase food from a CSA, co-op, farmers market or local organic farm, please let the policymakers in Washington know why you have confidence in these high-quality farmers rather than in corporate agribusiness.

Additional talking points and background are available at: www.cornucopia.org/foodsafety.

Join Cornucopia members, farmers and
consumers in stepping up to help counter
the power of agribusiness lobbyists in Washington.

I know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers. Please help us defend and protect this alternative in the marketplace. It is worth fighting for.

Mark A. Kastel
Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst

PS: Please forward this e-mail or a link to this campaign to anyone who cares about the quality of their food: www.cornucopia.org/foodsafety … And, although completely voluntary, we hope you will consider making a financial contribution to help underwrite what has been an expensive campaign (Whether you contribute or not, all proxies will be hand-delivered to the FDA).

GMOs: Tell Makers of Similac That Our Babies Are Not “Human Lab Rats”

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

formula-6-sml

GMOs—foods that have been genetically engineered by Monsanto and other chemical manufacturers—have never been adequately tested for long-term human health or environmental safety.

Many of the ingredients used in infant formula, especially soy-based formula, are derived from crops that have been genetically altered to internally produce pesticides or to be resistant to specific herbicides, so that weed killers that would normally kill or injure the plant can be sprayed more frequently and at higher doses.

Nobody should be eating GMO foods, especially babies.  But until infant formula makers stop using GMO ingredients, hundreds of thousands of newborns and infants will be unwitting participants in this huge, uncontrolled experiment with the health of the next generation.

It’s time to tell infant formula makers to stop experimenting with the health of babies who consume their infant formula — sign the petition below.  

Read Full Article »

Gut Wrenching! Tell FDA to Ban Carrageenan. Common Food Ingredient Linked to Intestinal Inflammation, Bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Cancer and More.

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

sick-3Rates of digestive diseases are rising—ranging from widespread digestive discomfort (“belly bloat,” “spastic colon,” Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

For decades, scientists conducting laboratory animal experiments using the common food additive carrageenan have found higher rates of gastrointestinal inflammation, colitis-like disease, and even colon cancer.

Carrageenan is a convenient and unique food additive for the food industry, and selling carrageenan is a profitable enterprise for a handful of chemical corporations. For decades, these companies have spread misinformation—often, outright lies—about carrageenan’s safety.

Carrageenan can be found in many foods, even foods labeled “natural” and “organic.” It is widely used in dairy products (chocolate milk, whipping cream, ice cream, nonfat sour cream), frozen dinners, dairy alternatives (soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk), prepared poultry and cold cuts, nutritional drinks, and even infant formula.

sickAnd who has been more than willing to listen to the corporate scientists rather than to the scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health? That’s right: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In June 2012, the FDA rejected a citizen petition by the nation’s preeminent publicly funded scientist and carrageenan expert, who formally requested that carrageenan be removed from our food supply.

Sign the petition to remove carrageenan, and let the FDA know that it’s time to act in the interest of our health and safety. Carrageenan is a dangerous food additive, and should be removed from the list of allowed additives!

The FDA’s shameless catering to corporate interests has to end.

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